Around November of every year I start copying notes from my yearly planner into a fresh one and get the next year’s schedule sorted (as best I can from months ahead). I know that sounds premature, but honestly, I look forward to it all year. It’s my way of revisiting the events of the closing year while also anticipating the fast-approaching new year.
I know I’m going to sound really lame and squarish for saying this… but I have a theme for each year, and in the closing months, I reflect on how little or how much I’ve lived up to my “theme,” and I meditate on what I think next year’s theme is likely to be.
2015 was the year of hard work and diligence. Now that it’s mid-December I’m sitting here struggling with this little bug that keeps telling me I didn’t work hard enough, or that if I did, my efforts weren’t quite good enough.
Maybe the act of obsessively transcribing the minutes of the passing year exorbitantly inflates the goals I have for the new? Maybe it’s the simple process of confronting all that I just could not do — maybe I’m mourning my lost aspirations..?
In 2015, I had hoped to put together my very first album.
That didn’t happen.
I had also hoped to study abroad.
That didn’t happen either.
I wanted to write consistently.
I didn’t go to Seattle as I had planned.
I had found and also lost love.
I was constantly erasing, whiting-out, and crossing off things I had intended to accomplish. I was so utterly unable to stay on task that I even started a separate “big picture” planner on my laptop — that way I didn’t have to see the erasure of things I let slip, things that were taken, denied, simply unattainable.
But strangely enough, it’s December of 2015, and I find myself more ready and eager for the year to come. Despite being accosted by all that I could not do in 2015, here I am, restless and hunger for what is developing just beyond. I’m fully aware of my shortcomings and areas of weakness, but still I’m filled to the brim with hope. Something exciting is coming my way. I can feel it in the corner of my consciousness, something so far tucked back that I cannot identify it, yet so real that I am forced to surrender to it.
Hope is a tricky companion. When it comes to you, you have no option but to submit and let it change your life, your plans, your entire heart. And sometimes it contradicts what your mind tells you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s fear, and there’s self-doubt. I acknowledge the necessity of these things, but while fear and self-doubt can keep you safe, it also keeps you small. I’ve come to see that being safe often comes at the expense of staying small, unrealized. Logic follows, then, that in order to grow, you may need to be vulnerable.
Hope and self-doubt have always flamed up in battle within me. There are times when I beg my own self to stop hoping because when it fails me, I feel like I’m being plunged into deep waters, and when I finally break the surface and gasp for air, I hate hope. I never want it again.
But what do you know. It’s December, and I’ve finally confirmed my theme for next year: 2016 will be the year of expanding and experiencing.
I’m here again. I’m ready for 2016. I’m ready for new conquests, new passions, even new defeats.
No doubt, I approach it cautiously because I’ve been let down before. Hope hurts, but it also thrusts you into beautiful, unexplored places. I guess hope has grown to be both my greatest weakness and greatest strength: I never know when to stop and even when I want to, hope won’t let me.